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Frequently Asked Questions

This page is a collection of the most common questions we are asked. We’ve done our best to put them in easy to find categories for you so you can find your answers as fast as possible…

Sanding and Refinishing Questions:

How long will the refinishing process take?

This depends. Don’t you hate answers like that. But it really does depend on how big your project is. An average size home in Delaware has a living and dining room, an entry and hallway and 3 or 4 bedrooms with hardwood floors. If your floors are in ok shape and you don’t require repairs or extending flooring into another room, you’re looking at an average timeframe of 3 days.

Larger homes and complicated layouts, like lots of small hallways, closets and rooms etc. will obviously add some time to the project. Extras like restoring stairs, removing carpet and doing repairs will add some time too. If you add staining or a pre-treatment it will add a day. But most jobs will be 3 to 4 days from start to finish.

Will you fill the gaps in between the boards in my floor?

Short answer is no.

The long answer is: All things made from wood will expand and contract because of humidity changes from season to season during the year. Especially here in Delaware, we have big changes between seasons. This is what causes cracks and gaps in your floors, especially if you have wide plank floors.

In the colder months when you turn the heating system on, the humidity in your home will drop quite a lot. When this happens, everything made from wood, including your floors will contract and shrink a little. In the summer, humidity rises and wood expands. This is why your doors may be fine one season and hard to open the next. If there was filler in the gaps between your floors, it would move with the seasons and eventually loosen and come out in chunks… looking worse than if there was no filler in the first place. Not to mention it getting ground into the finish as it comes up. For these reasons, we don’t put any filler in older floors.

Can engineered hardwood be sanded and refinished?

This is either a yes or no answer depending on several factors:

1) How is it installed? If it is a floating floor, then unfortunately no. If it has been securely glued or nailed to a flat sub-floor, then possibly. It will depend on…

2) What size wear layer does it have? Many engineered floors have a very thin top layer of wood. If it’s less than 5/16”, then most likely the answer will be no. The chance our machines will cut through the top layer and into the base layers is far too high a risk to take. If it’s at least 5/16” thick or thicker then yes, it’s a possibility.

If you’re not sure how thick your top layer is, get us to come over and take a look for you.

Another option for engineered floors is to consider our Deep Clean and Recoat service. That way of they can't be sanded, you can still clean and freshen them up.

What type of finishes do we use?

We have put together a detailed pdf guide for you that answers this question in detail. You can download the article called "Which Finish System Should You Choose" here.

Will the smell and fumes be bad?

This is an important question to ask any floor refinishing business. If a strong off gassing finish is applied to your floors, the smell could linger for weeks, making it very uncomfortable to live there. Not to mention the health concerns.

In our free guide, Which Finish System Should You Choose it goes through all the different types of finish systems that are available. On page 4 there is a chart that lists the finishes that have the worst fumes and smell. It would be worth having a read so you’re aware of what finishes you don’t want the business you choose to work with to use.

We specialize in three types of finish systems: oil based, water based and hardwax oils.

Out of those three, the oil based finish is the strongest smelling. As it dries and cures, the solvents will evaporate and cause the smelly fumes. On a scale of 1-5… 5 being the least smelly and 1 the worst… the oil based finish we use is a 3. If you have good airflow and can keep some windows open as it dries, it cuts down the off gassing/fume period substantially. This is ok if your floors are restored in the summer. In the winter, it’s obviously more difficult to have open windows. Usually the smell will last a few days to a week as the floor cures. This finish system is the most affordable so you will need to factor in what you can put up with verses the investment needed for a finish without this issue.

If smell, VOCs and fumes are going to be a problem in your home because of kids, pets and other health or environmental issues, then we strongly recommend one of the other two systems: water based or hardwax oil.

Both have very minimal smells. On the scale of 1-5 they score at the top with a solid 5. With water based finishes, as they dry and cure, it’s water evaporating, not harmful eye watering, headache inducing solvents. Yes, they have a distinct odor to them, but it is very light and will dissipate quickly because these finishes dry and cure rapidly.

One of the hardwax oils we use, Rubio Monocoat, has zero VOCs. The smell is similar to cooking oil. Again, it will only linger for a short time as these finishes dry and cure very quickly too.

Repair Questions:

What can be done about deep scratches in my floor?

When we sand a floor, we try to preserve as much of the wear layer as possible. That way you will have the option of sanding it again way down the road if need be.

So, if you have areas with very deep scratches and gouges, then depending on how big they are, it may be best to replace the wood in these sections. It’s better to build those sections up, rather than remove a ton of wood (and life) from your floor to bring everything down to the level of the damage.

We can sand deeper in these areas if you really want us too, but it’s important to remember your floors can only be sanded 3 to 5 times at most and excess sanding will reduce this greatly.

Can you repair pet and water damage?

Pet stains and water damage from plant pots are common, and yes, there is usually no issue in repairing these areas. Most of the time we will need to replace the damaged section of boards as these types of stains don’t usually sand out.

During our visit, we’ll have a look at the damage and include the price of the repair in the quote. In some cases, you may have carpet covering the floor during our visit. In this case, when we rip out the carpet and see it, we’ll inform you immediately and come to a decision together on how to proceed.

Before the Project Starts Questions:

Can we stay at home during the process?

Yes, it is possible but you need to be aware of a couple of limitations. Once we start applying the finish coats, you will need to stay off them for at least 4 to 8 hours, depending on the finish system used. If the entire home is being refinished, you could have access issues for a time.

Towards the end of the job, while the finishes are being applied and are drying, you won’t have access to those areas for at least 4 hours. For the finish coat we like to keep everyone off it for 24 hours to ensure a top-quality job without any contaminants. This can be a hassle if you are having your entire house refinished or main access hallways etc. It may be best to stay somewhere else for a few nights if this is the case.

What kind of insurance coverage do we have?

We are fully insured with a $2 million liability policy as well as having full Workers Compensation coverage. It’s very important that any floor restoration business you hire is properly covered. Please feel free to ask for our policy numbers, we would be more than happy to share them with you.

Do we work weekends?

We understand you want your home back to normal as soon as possible, so yes, we can work on Saturdays if need be. Most of the time this will be to put on a last coat of finish so it’s ready to move back in on Monday.

Sunday is off limits though sorry. We all need to spend quality time with our families and get some rest. I’m sure you understand.

What time do we begin work each morning?

For the first day of the restoration, we like to be there right at 8:30am so we can get a good start on the day. If you choose a finish system that needs several coats, we will arrange the best time for the both of us to do them. Most of our clients provide us with a key during the refinishing process so we can coat at the optimum times so your floor is finished asap.

Do you remove and dispose of carpet?

Yes, we’re happy to remove any carpet, underlay and tack strips for you. If you would like us to dispose of it as well, please ask for the option to be added to your quote.

Do the base shoe and baseboards need to be removed?

No, it’s not necessary in most cases. We can sand up very close to them with our sanders and then use a hand scraper to remove the rest of the finish. Of course, if they are damaged and you want to replace them then yes, that would be a good idea.

Is there anything I could do myself to save some money?

Yes. If you’re handy you could remove and dispose of the carpet, underlay, tack strips, staples and any baseboards or base shoe you want removed. If you’re super handy you could also tackle any needed repairs. We will be more than happy to provide some advice on how to do this correctly.

What areas do we work in?

We offer our Delaware hardwood floor refinishing service for most of the State of Delaware but the main areas are: Bear, Newark, Hockessin, Middletown, Townsend, Wilmington, Smyrna, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Frankford, and Fenwick Island.

We also service the following areas in Pennsylvania: Landenberg, Avondale, Kennett Square, Chadds Ford, WestChester, Glen Mills, Media, Aston and Garnet Valley.

Who will be working on my hardwood floors?

Good question and a very important one. You will want to make sure you know who is going to have access to your home no matter what flooring business you hire.

On the Our Team page you can see a photo, full name and brief description for each team member of Delaware Valley Hardwoods. We never hire sub-contractors. All employees are professionally trained in the trade and we’re constantly going to school and classes to keep up-to-date with new industry standards. No employee will smoke, swear or play load music in your home. This is company policy and strictly enforced. Anyone caught doing any of these things, including snooping through customer’s items (yes it happens), will be fired on the spot.

Because of our strict rules, we have attracted a great team of skilled guys. We know you will love having either one of our 3 teams working in your home. And of course, you will have full contact with me, James Kramer, during the entire project.

Do you have any references I can look at?

Yes, we do. Probably the easiest way to see some of our glowing feedback is to read the reviews on our Google My Business page. We also have reviews on Home Advisor, Houzz, Thumbtack and Angie’s List. I can assure you that they are all 100% genuine customers we have worked for.

This is our Better Business Bureau profile.

We’re also not afraid to give you the number of the customer we’re working with right now, or the project we just completed last week (providing they agree of course, some people are very private and we want to respect that).

You can also see some featured hardwood floor refinishing projects we have on our website.

Do we move furniture?

If you have a few small pieces you need assistance with, we’d be more than happy to help you move them at the start of your project. You will need to sort out some help on the other end when you move back in though.

As far as moving more than that, unfortunately the answer is no. We’re not professional movers so our insurance won’t cover us for any damage done to your furniture if something goes wrong. There’s a good chance we won’t be covered if we are injured moving something too heavy or too large. It’s not a chance we’re willing to take sorry.

But… we can provide you with the name and number of a professional moving company our clients have been more than happy with. They’ll do a great job of carefully packing and removing your furniture before we show up and then they will carefully put it back for you once the finish is dry.

What payment options are there?

Our preference is cash and checks. We can arrange payment by credit card, but will need to add the 3% surcharge our bank charges us.

Do we install baseboards and base shoe?

Yes, we are more than happy to install new baseboards, base shoe and quarter round. You have a choice of either solid wood to match your floor, or primed white. If you choose the solid wood, we can coat it with the same finish as your floor. The primed product will need to be painted by yourself, or someone you hire, after we have completed the project.

As a side note, we won’t remove existing base shoe and re-install it. It will most likely be damaged and will be too difficult to make look good.

End of Project Questions:

When can we put the furniture and area rugs back?

If we had our way, we would tell you that you need to wait a full week before even walking on your new floors so they can properly cure. Practically, we know that is impossible.

Most finishes we use are 70 – 80% cured after two days. We strongly suggest you wait for at least those two days before moving back in. If you can wait longer, great. But if you can’t, make sure you’re extra careful until they fully cure. We’ll make sure to give you cure times for the finish you have chosen.

When you move your furniture back, please be sure to use the felt pads we’ll supply for you.

With area rugs, we strongly advise you give your hardwood floor at least two weeks to cure before putting them back.

How long can I expect my refinished hardwood floors to last?

This will depend on a few things. Do you wear dirty shoes inside? Do you have an inside dog? Are their nails trimmed regularly? Do they have full access to run around uncontrollably? Are you able to stay on top of sweeping and cleaning? Do you have good mats at all entrance doors? Are you willing to use felt pads under chairs and tables? Will you use runners and area rugs?

As you can see, how you answer each question above will affect your floors performance either positively or negatively. If you take good care of them, you could get 20+ years out of them. On the other hand, the very same floor treated poorly could need recoating after only 2 years. A lot will be up to you.

It’s impossible for us to know how you are going to care for your floors. We encourage you to read and apply the tips in the Cleaning Guide we provide you at the end of the project. Following them will ensure your floors look terrific for many, many years.

Will my hardwood floors fade in sunlight?

This will depend on several things including the finish you choose and what preventative measures you put in place.

Oil modified finish will change color in sunlight quite quickly. Whereas high-end water based finishes have UV inhibitors in them to slow this process down. If you have area rugs covering the floor in an location that gets daily sunlight, you’ll especially notice the color change with an oil modified finish.

The traditional suggestion is to move your rugs around from time to time or keep your blinds closed during the sunniest parts of the day. Either one isn’t very practical. That’s why we suggest using a higher grade of finish if your floor is constantly in direct sunlight.

We also suggest installing window shades and awnings or applying window tinting film to cut down the ultra violet rays entering in the first place.

If you have any other questions about hardwood floor refinishing we haven’t covered here, please feel free to get in touch and ask us. We’ll be more than happy to help.

Wood Floor
They were great. James Kramer is great. They were very professional. They were on time. They worked around my schedule, they came back and fixed a couple of things that I wanted redone or I had to have looked at. Karen K - Kennett Square, PA | Review on Angies List
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